The Texas A&M University System delivers a common set/embraces a common view of important outcomes and is accountable for sustained measurement.
For all TAMU System universities, the rationale for assessing student learning outcomes (SLOs) originates primarily from efforts to maintain institutional effectiveness, which is defined as a process of identifying outcomes, assessing the extent to which they are achieved, and providing evidence of improvement based on their analysis.
Upon completion of their degree program, students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of and use ethical reasoning for responsible personal and professional decision-making in a culturally and ethnically diverse world.
All criteria met and results exceed expectations with little room for improvement.
Most criteria met and results indicate mastery of objective with some room for improvement.
Acceptable number of criteria met and results meet expectations with room for improvement.
Some criteria met and results indicate need for improvement.
Few criteria met; results indicate need for significant improvement or no/insufficient results reported to measure performance of objective.
TAMU (incl. TAMUG & TAMUQ)
Graduation Survey – Approximately 3 weeks prior to commencement (in Dec., May, and Aug.), students graduating with a bachelor’s degree are asked to complete a survey designed to assess their overall educational experience and post-graduation plans. Although an indirect measure of learning, students’ assessment of their ability to practice personal and social responsibility (i.e., using ethical reasoning for responsible decision making) are nonetheless valuable. The responses from Dec ‘17, May ‘18, and Aug ’18 graduates (n = 5405; representing a 42% response rate) are reported here. One item that specifically relates to this outcome asks graduates the extent to which their education at TAMU contributed to their ability to connect choices, actions, and consequences to ethical decision-making.
Former Student Survey – A survey is sent annually to TAMU former students (who completed an undergraduate degree specifically) to learn more about their experiences while at TAMU as well as the impact of their education since graduation. In addition to questions regarding post degree experiences, alums are also asked to indicate the extent to which they are satisfied with TAMU’s contribution to their development of various outcomes, such as personal and social responsibility (of most relevance here). Responses on this specific item from those who graduated in 2014, 2015, and 2016 (representing a total of 2036 alums) are reported here.
Direct Assessment of learning Each academic program is assessed annually to determine the extent to which identified learning outcomes are being achieved by their students. Annual assessment reports indicate whether or not the learning outcomes are met based on established measures and targets. Findings related to students' personal and social responsibility (i.e., the ability to understand, and/or demonstrate the use of, ethical reasoning for responsible decision making) based on the use of direct measures (e.g., exam or project grades, instructor or professional scoring of work product) are reported here. It should be noted that academic programs often do not report findings on every learning outcome annually. Instead, programs often report findings for a subset of outcomes based on a 2 - 3-year cycle.
Proficient. Across the graduates completing the survey in AY17-18 (apx. 42% of those who graduated), the average response was 4.3 (based on a 5-point scale where 1 = none and 5 = significantly; SD = .90). Thus, seniors acknowledged that their education at TAMU helped prepare them to use ethical reasoning for responsible personal and professional decision making.
Proficient. The results from three cohorts of alumni (that is, those having completed a baccalaureate degree in 2014, 2015, or 2016) suggest that former students are quite satisfied with the preparation TAMU gave them to demonstrate personal and social responsibility through ethical decision-making practices. Consistently, over 78% of the respondents reported they were either extremely satisfied or very satisfied with the contribution made by TAMU in the development of this particular outcome.
Proficient. Of the 111 baccalaureate programs assessed during AY17-18, 26 (23%) used direct measures to evaluate the extent to which their students demonstrated personal and social responsibility (that is, the understanding of, and/or use of, ethical reasoning for responsible decision-making). Of these, all but one met established targets, thus demonstrating students’ personal and social responsibility as it relates to ethical decision-making practices.
When comparing results reported here from the AY17-18 graduates with responses from AY14-15 graduates on a similar item, we find students’ perceptions of the extent to which their education at TAMU contributed to their overall ability to behave in an ethical manner, thus demonstrating personal and socially responsibility, has improved somewhat. Specifically, AY14-15 graduates were asked to what extent their education at TAMU contributed to their ability to behave ethically. The average response on this particular item among AY14-15 graduates was 4.16 (based on a 5-point scale where 1 = none and 5 = very much; SD = 1.0) compared to an average of 4.3 on a comparable item as reported here for AY17-18.
Taking into account the results from graduating seniors and alumni, the data suggest that students graduating from TAMU with a baccalaureate degree are being well prepared to exhibit responsible personal and professional decision making.
Trends in assessment results since AY14-15 for the same 26 programs based on the same direct measures (i.e., those assessing personal and social responsibility) were examined. The majority of programs consistently reported meeting the established targets each time the outcome was measured. In four of the programs, improvements were reported with no programs reporting a decline.
The data summarized throughout this report suggest TAMU is preparing its graduates to engage in ethical decision making and social responsibility. Nonetheless, the institution remains committed to continuous improvement across the curriculum with respect to this and other identified learning outcomes. To this end, the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies, in collaboration with the Faculty Senate Core Curriculum Council, launched an initiative during the fall, 2018, designed to (1) reinforce and clarify the defining characteristics of the outcomes that all students, regardless of discipline, should master prior to graduation; and, (2) engage faculty from across disciplines in continuous improvement efforts to ensure each outcome is achieved across programs. A series of working groups comprised of faculty and professional staff from across disciplines will be convened during the spring, 2019, with the purpose of identifying pedagogical strategies applicable across disciplines and designed to achieve identified outcomes such as personal and social responsibility. Findings such as those presented here will be reviewed with each working group in an effort to facilitate data-informed action planning.
See actions outlined above.
Across the 26 programs that assessed personal and social responsibility during AY17-18, six established Action Plans specifically designed to enhance this particular outcome for their students. Actions included the development of standardized modules addressing ethics and ethical practices, the addition of related objectives to upper-division courses, and curriculum review in an effort to integrate attention to this particular outcome across courses.
TAMU (incl. TAMUG & TAMUQ)
Upper-level students in Mays Business School write a response to an ethical dilemma as a part of one their upper-level major classes. Class sets of these papers are collected and evaluated for the students' ability to identify issues, define the problem, apply an ethical decision-making framework or principle to the situation, articulate and support a decision, identify/predict short and long term consequences. For 2014-15 the assessment model adjusted slightly such that, for ethics assessment, reported results come from the criteria "situational analysis" and "argumentation."
85% of students scored above at a 2 or better out of 4 on the rubric designed to measure Situational Analysis, and 69% scored a 2 or better out of 4 in Argumentation. While the metric used to collect this data varies slightly from previous years and was not an exact comparison, these data show an improvement with the integration of a decision-making model.
Evaluation of student written responses to an ethics-related case showed that providing a framework for student thinking helped students do better. Core Business Knowledge (CBK) faculty are now being asked to use a decision-making model (developed in collaboration with faculty from each department in Mays) wherever appropriate in their courses. The model was introduced at a CBK faculty retreat on 8/25/15. Next steps will be to work to integrate the decision-making model into multiple CBK courses, so that students see the model repeatedly and have multiple opportunities to practice applying both the framework and the ethical principles embedded in it.
Results indicate that even minimal exposure to a decision-making framework and ethical principles will result in better performance by students on a task requiring them to analyze a situation and choose an ethical course of action.